The four BMW teams experienced an eventful fifth DTM race at the Norisring (DE) in temperatures soaring to over 30 degrees Celsius. Bruno Spengler (CA), who started the race from second on the grid in the BMW Bank M3 DTM, was the best-placed BMW driver, coming home in sixth. Joey Hand (US, BMW M3 DTM), Andy Priaulx (GB, Crowne Plaza Hotels BMW M3 DTM) and Marco Wittmann (DE, Ice-Watch BMW M3 DTM) finished eighth, ninth and tenth. Over the course of the weekend, 126,000 spectators followed the action live at the Norisring.
Spengler and BMW Team Schnitzer continued an impressive run: the reigning DTM champion has now scored points in each of the past 11 DTM races. BMW Team RMG and Priaulx picked up their first two points of the season. Victory at the Dutzendteich went to Audi driver Mattias Ekström (SE), followed by Mercedes drivers Robert Wickens (CA) and Christian Vietoris (DE).
Dirk Werner (DE, SAMSUNG BMW M3 DTM) narrowly missed out on a points finish, crossing the line in 11th. Timo Glock (DE, DEUTSCHE POST BMW M3 DTM) and Augusto Farfus (BR, Castrol EDGE BMW M3 DTM) came home in 13th and 16th.
Martin Tomczyk (DE) in the BMW M Performance Parts M3 DTM was once again struck by misfortune at the end of the first half of the season. He retired after 16 laps following a duel with Jamie Green (GB). Up until his retirement, Tomczyk had fought back from 17th on the grid to ninth in the field. The crash caused the second of two safety car periods. A number of rival cars altered their strategy, took a greater risk, and were consequently able to pass the BMW drivers over the course of the race. Therefore, a podium was not to be this time.
Spengler is now second in the Drivers’ Championship on 67 points, just two behind the leader Mike Rockenfeller (DE). In the Manufacturers’ Championship, BMW held onto its lead on 192 points, ahead of Mercedes (177) and Audi (136).
Jens Marquardt (BMW Motorsport Director):
“We managed to land four cars in the top ten, but cannot be happy with what was a tough race for us. The two safety car phases had a significant influence and opened up certain strategic options. Our approach was not to take too many risks in terms of the race strategy. However, this did not pay off in today’s conditions. Bruno, in sixth, still managed to score more valuable points, and another three BMW M3 DTMs finished in the top ten. The overall standings still do not look bad. Congratulations to Audi and Mattias Ekstrom on their deserved victory.”
Charly Lamm (Team Principal, BMW Team Schnitzer):
“You obviously want to be up there with the front-runners when you start the race from the front row. However, the safety car periods meant Bruno Spengler was not able to make full use of the option tyre. You never get back the time you lose during this period. Dirk Werner narrowly missed out on the points. He was also lacking that little bit of luck required to finish higher up the field today.”
Stefan Reinhold (Team Principal, BMW Team RMG):
“Firstly, I am pleased for the entire team that we have finally scored our first points of the year. Thank you to everyone. Hopefully that has broken the spell. Unfortunately it was only two points. Martin Tomczyk had another disappointing race. He was pushed into the wall by a rival. At that point, he was already lapping in the top ten. Andy Priaulx did a great job this weekend. The safety car periods had a massive effect on our strategy. The performance was better today than the result may suggest.”
Bart Mampaey (Team Principal, BMW Team RBM):
“The race was an interesting one – and also very difficult, thanks to the safety car periods. Joey Hand started on the prime tyre and then switched to the option during the safety car period. That worked out well, and then he pulled off a few nice overtaking manoeuvres. At the end, we made the switch back to the prime tyres at exactly the right time. Augusto Farfus made a good start to the race, but then the strategy did not come off. We simply have to concentrate on doing better in qualifying in the future. Then we should be able to pick up more points again.”
Ernest Knoors (Team Principal, BMW Team MTEK):
“First and foremost, I am very happy everyone got out of this race with no incidents. The pit lane here at the Norisring is really extremely narrow. It gets even narrower when lots of cars all come into the pits at the same time during a safety car period. We did not have any luck today, but we are obviously pleased Marco Wittmann still managed to pick up a point.”
Bruno Spengler (car number 1, BMW Team Schnitzer, 6th):
“Sixth is disappointing for me. When you start from second on the grid, you obviously want to be in contention to win the race. Qualifying was very good, and we actually had good pace during the race too. The pit stops were also good. We were just unlucky with the strategy today. Neither of the two safety car periods played into our hands. I am still up there near the top of the Drivers’ Championship. That is important. However, I had hoped for more on my favourite circuit.”
Joey Hand (car number 8, BMW Team RBM, 8th):
“Yesterday after qualifying I felt the car was better than the results showed, and it was as we had better pace today. The boys did a great job to make sure I had a better balanced race car. It seems when we put the option tyres on this is always good for me. That was obviously our strong stint, as we put a lot of emphasis on that tyre and ran as long as we could. We had two really good pit stops and everything came together. I feel good, because I executed everything properly – perhaps for the first time. I think we made the most out of our day.”
Andy Priaulx (car number 16, BMW Team RMG, 9th):
Tyres: Option-Standard- Option
“It has been a brilliant weekend and we had a really solid pace. Qualifying was good and now I have a car I am really happy with, so that is all positive. I think what happened in the race was out of my control with the safety car periods, and no one really understood why at times it was called. Sadly it just damaged our strategy, but I am happy with the overall performance.”
Marco Wittmann (car number 21, BMW Team MTEK, 10th):
Tyres: Option-Standard- Option
“That was an exciting race. Even the start was dramatic, and there was contact in the first corner. I don’t know exactly how much that affected the balance of my car. At times it was difficult to keep a clear head. I had a few great battles. Ultimately, we can be happy with the point, although I had obviously set my sights on more from my home race.”
Dirk Werner (car number 2, BMW Team Schnitzer, 11th):
“I am disappointed, as 11th is always a thankless position. I lost a lot of time during the second safety car period. Christian Vietoris was allowed through in front of me, but I was not. That rather ruined my race. I will be aiming to get back in the points again at the next race in Moscow.”
Timo Glock (car number 22, BMW Team MTEK, 13th):
“Seldom have I experienced a race like that, in which it is so difficult to keep a clear overview of what is going on. It was verging on chaotic, especially in the middle of the field. I can imagine that it was not so easy for the fans to keep up with the action.”
Augusto Farfus (car number 7, BMW Team RBM, 16th):
“It was a horrible race for me and I don't have a lot to say. The car was just not quick, but I pushed quite hard. We had a bad qualifying and a worse race. I just want to turn the page and try to understand what is going on.”
Martin Tomczyk (car number 15, BMW Team RMG, DNF):
“Unfortunately my Sunday was over before it really began. Another zero points and a bad weekend for myself and my crew. At least my team-mate Andy was able to gain some points, so we must now remain focused for the coming races.”
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